43mm high and 17mm wide. 8g silver weight. 10.2g gold weight. With 18″ chain.
This cross is a double-sided replica of the original cross. Handmade and hallmarked in Ireland.
Beloved to my heart also in the West Drumcliffe, at Culcinne’s Strand.
These lines are from a poem attributed to St.Columcille (or St.Columba as he is also known), the founder of the monastry at Drumcliffe. He was born in Donegal, a member of a royal family, studied at bardic and monastic schools and after his ordination traveled Ireland and founded several monastic settlements, including Derry, near his own birthplace, Durrow and Kells.
On one of his journeys he made a hurried copy of the Book of Psalters belonging to St.Finnian of Moville. A dispute arose about the ownership of the copy and the High King of Ireland, Diarmuid, gave the famous judgement, To every cow its calf, to every book its copy. Shortly after this a fugitive from King Diarmuid sought sanctuary with Columcille. Diarmuid’s men pursued him and, violating the law of sanctuary, killed him. Colmcille responded with anger and called on his royal kinsman for support. There was a battle at Culi-dreinne, at which the King was defeated and there were many casualties. Columcille was overcome with remorse, feeling that his earlier argument with the High King had tempted Diarmuid to violate sanctuary and this had led to the battle. It is unclear whether he was sent into exile by a Synod or whether exile was a self imposed penance. In any event, Columcille left for Scotland. There he founded monastic settlements, the most famous being Iona, which became his home for the rest of his life.
We know that he made one famous return journey to Ireland at the Council of Druim Ceat in Co. Meath. He visited Clonmacnois and so on his journey up the west coast to Sligo he founded the monastic settlement at Drumcliffe, not far from the scene of the fateful battle. He is said to have left his bishop’s crozier there as a sign of his love. Certainly, the magnificent cross erected there later, the only important one found in Sligo, is a tribute to the family of Columcille who were its patrons for many generations.
The cross has fantastic animals in full relief as well as scenes from the scriptures. These are represented by both figures and symbolic designs. Nearby is the grave of the poet, William Butler Yeats. It is marked as he requested with a stone inscribed with the epitaph which he wrote for himself, Cast a cold eye, On life, on death, Horseman, pass by.